Star Wars Holiday Special (Review)
Star Wars Holiday Special
Not a movie, but easily the most bootlegged video in the galaxy, and also easily makes Episode I look like Citizen Kane. Heck, it makes Turkish Star Wars look like Citizen Kane! No small feat, to say the least. This relic from the seventies is ripe with long, trippy musical sequences that would bore any child into submission. The regulars from Star Wars act as though they were carved from floorboards minutes before the cameras started rolling, a few of who are also full of more drugs than East Hollywood. Guest stars litter the special, some annoying (Art Carney) and some terrifying (Harvey Korman) and Bea Arthur, who should have known better. The holiday we are celebrating is “Life Day” and is a Wookiee holiday, the plot of the special involves getting Chewbacca home in time to see his family. Would our only exposure to Star Wars be this project, we would all be cheering for the Emperor to execute all the rebels and display their heads on the hood of his private shuttle. This is bad. Real bad. Mean bad. Watching this is a war. Not a Star War, a Nuclear War, and the Fallout and Waste is what is left of your brain at the end.
Do you like Wookiees? Chewbacca? You won’t after this. The first fifteen minutes have almost zero dialogue after Han and Chewie discuss getting him home as stock footage Star Destroyers chase them. Chewie’s dad, wife, and son are awaiting his arrival. So is the Empire, it would seem. Chewie’s wife is called Mallatobuck (Malla), his father is a gruff-looking Al Bundy prototype Attichitcuk (Itchy), and his son is the ultra annoying Lumpawarrump (Lumpy.) Before the thin plot stretches, we are treated to a Cirque De Sole ripoff (or, maybe that was actually them) via holoprojector as Chewie’s wife Malla watches little holograms prance around. This is the first of many many musical sequences that go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on while music plays and video effects turn people different tints. This entertained children in the seventies. At least that is what the adults thought. Art Carney is running around as well, and Luke Skywalker and R2D2 show up for a few seconds.
Next Vader gets a report from an Imperial officer….wait…THAT’S CHIEF BAST! He’s they guy who told Tarkin that he figured out the rebel’s Death Star attack plans! He’s still alive, he must have ran off right after reporting to Tarkin. This is wonderful news, shows he isn’t an idiot and the Empire does have a few bright bulbs besides Piett. Kashyyyk, besides housing lame Wookiee circus holograms, also has a lame cooking show with Harvey Korman as one of his many roles in this. Because children love cooking shows, this had to be included, or it wouldn’t b like Christma— I mean Life Day. The show stops when an Imperial officer shows up to announce that Kashyyyk is cut off( or Kazook as he pronounces it) due to Rebel activity. Art Carney arrives at the Chewbacca house to give some gifts. One of the gifts drops us into the next trippy acid-riddled segment of this circus of horrors, Kaleidoscope Time! Followed up by holographic Diahann Carroll singing, as the kids go nuts for Diahann Carroll.
Leia and C3PO are up next for their cameo. Imperial Troops arrive at the Chewbacca’s to search as Chewie and Han land on Kashyyyk, but on the other side! Will they ever get all the way across the planet in time for Life Day? Luckily, this is before “goen through da core!” so we don’t have ten minutes of big fishes eating each other. The Imperials search the house some more, and find Jefferson Starship, and we are again assailed by loud music, color changing effects, and hairy people. The Chewbacca family should be arrested for “Assault with a Deadly Decade.” How did anyone watch this long tedious garbage? The song goes on and on! And on! And ON!
Finally, we get interrupted by CARTOON TIME! This is generally considered the best part of this special, a Boba Fett cartoon. Done by the people who went on to do the Droids and Ewoks cartoons, this short’s visual style is reminiscent of Heavy Metal or Wizards. Han and Chewie are lost on a planet, and Luke and the droids go to find them, and Boba Fett shows up riding a dinosaur-type creature. He is immediately befriended by Luke, and helps find Han, who is in a coma, and Luke falls into one as well. Chewie and Boba go to get some cure for the comas, but Chewie finds Boba calling Darth Vader for some reason, revealing him as a villain. Chewie gets the cure back, and Luke learns an important lesson, don’t trust people wearing weird armor. Boba Fett also just leaves when exposed, he doesn’t even bother to shoot or try to capture the people, he just wanders off.
That really wasn’t that good, either. At least it avoided lots of trippy seventies music.
Harvey Korman is back as some robot, and then the Empire interrupts TV broadcasts to tell Kashyyyk that Tatooine is now under a curfew. Why Kashyyyk needs to know this immediately is unclear. What is clear is the deleted scenes and stock footage from Star Wars broadcasted as well. Check out that joke with the very small guy. That almost made it into the final cut. I’m surprised we didn’t get a digital restoration of it for the special edition. Maybe for the Extra Special Edition. This does get us an excuse to go to Tatooine so BEA ARTHUR can give us a song! Bea Arthur is awesome, so this should rule, right? ‘Fraid not. We also see Figrin D’an (except I think she calls him something else) and his band, as well as Hammerhead, Pondo Baba, the now deleted Wolfman, the Devil Guy, Takeel, Mosep, Brainiac, and a bunch of other Cantina aliens. Bea Arthur spurns Harvey Korman’s advances, and sings a song about Last Call at the bar, as all children are barflies and love songs about alcohol, this is the perfect choice for the holiday special. For serious, this is a good choice, as the drunker you are, the better this special is, and to deal with relatives you meet over the holidays you are better off drinking.
At the Chewie pad, one stormtrooper is left behind to guard the place. Han and Chewie return, and that stormtrooper dies by falling, as shooting someone on TV isn’t as acceptable as songs about drinking and drug inspired trippiness. Now that someone was murdered, HAPPY LIFE DAY, CHARLIE BROWN! Chewie reunites with his family, and there isn’t a person alive who isn’t touched by the sight of Chewbacca hugging and kissing his wife. Touched with disgust. Now the Life Day ceremonies begin. Life Day involves Wookiees dressing up in red togas and wandering around bad video effects, then listening to songs sung by a clearly high on cocaine Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, the song has the same tune as the Star Wars Theme, surprisingly enough. The rest of the cast (minus Alec Guiness) gather around and celebrate as well. Chewie remembers his favorite scenes from the movie as the special ends.
Life Day goddamned sucks, and this goddamned sucks. A thousand rat infested corpses dumped in poor orphanages would make better television. Clown rape would make better television. A hand reaching out of the TV and strangling you would make better television. This is not good TV, this is the very definition of bad TV. Now I feel sorry for George Lucas, and the feeling of shame he must have for having unleashed this upon an unsuspecting population is so beyond the comprehension of mortal man that it can explain the creation of Jar Jar Binks. In fact, the entire Phantom Menace is the result of that madness. The Madness of King George.
Rated 1/10 (Stuffed Bantha because this is Bantha poodoo!)
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